In S1E18, Emily is freaking out at Richard because Richard’s mother, Lorelai, offered to give Rory her trust fund early. Richard refuses, and Emily says, “Now you listen to me. I don’t care if she demeans me and looks down on me. I don’t care if she thinks I’ve tarnished the Gilmore name. I don’t care if she thinks I’m the whore of Babylon!”
“The Whore of Babylon” refers to an evil figure from the book of Revelation, chapters 17 and 18, in the Bible. Her full name according to the New International Version of the Bible is:
“Babylon the Great / The Mother of Prostitutes / And of the abominations of the earth.”
Catchy title, right? Some different interpretations of the Whore of Babylon include: the Roman Empire (because it persecuted Christ-followers), Jerusalem (referring to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70), and the Roman Catholic Church (Luther and other post-reformation theologians believed this).
In S1E18, Richard’s mother Lorelai is talking to Rory’s mother Lorelai (so confusing) about how she borrowed money to pay for Rory’s school. Lorelai the elder says, “You know Shakespeare once wrote, ‘Neither a borrower nor a lender be.'”
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be” is a quote from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3. It is advice given by Polonius (King Claudius’ advisor) to his son Laertes before Laertes departs for Paris. Read here for a good summary of the whole play.
In S1E18, Tristan tells Rory that he’s thinking about swearing off girls for a while. Rory laughs, and Tristan says, “You don’t think I can!” Rory answers, “No, I… I think you can. I just think it would be hard for you. It would probably involve some kind of lockup facility and one of those Hannibal Lecter masks.”
Hannibal Lecter is a character portrayed in a series of novels by Thomas Harris as well as in several movies and a television series based on those novels. He is a forensic psychiatrist and a cannibalistic serial killer. When he is imprisoned, he is fitted with a straightjacket and a mask that covers half his face, acting as a muzzle.
In S1E18, Emily is trying to find all the awful gifts her mother-in-law has given her over the years. She rants about the “lion tables and stupid naked angels with their butts!” Lorelai says, “Woah! Stupid naked angel butts? What, did David Mamet just stop by?”
David Mamot is an American playwright and screenwriter, known for “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” and “The Verdict.” Mamot does have a rather distinctive style for writing dialogue, although I’m not sure “stupid naked angel butts” really fits. Lorelai could be connecting Emily’s use of language to “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” which is full of profanity and insults.
In S1E17, Lane and Rory are looking around Madeline’s house at her party. They see the pool table and the DJ. Lane comments, “It’s like a teenage ‘Sodom and Gomorrah.'”
Sodom and Gomorrah were two ancient cities located along the Jordan River in Canaan. According to the Old Testament and the Quran, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God because of their sins, which included rape, homosexuality, robbery, and other unspecified behaviors. The term “Sodom and Gomorrah” has come to describe hedonistic, self-indulgent, or otherwise sinful groups.
In S1E17, Lorelai sees Luke come downstairs into the diner after Rachel had let him sleep in. She says, grinning, “Good morning, Sleeping Beauty!”
Sleeping Beauty is a story by Charles Perault, as well as a Grimm Brothers fairy tale and a 1959 animated Disney movie. The basic story is that a princess is cursed by a fairy to fall into a deep sleep for many years until a Prince’s kiss wakes her up.
In S1E17, Rory tells Lorelai that she’s going to Madeline’s “Chilton party.” Lorelai says, “Honey, why don’t you just stay home and read ‘The Bell Jar?’ Same effect!”
“The Bell Jar” is a novel by Sylvia Plath, published in 1963. It was her only novel, and it is generally understood to be semi-autobiographical. The novel describes the beginnings of the writing career of a woman named Esther, and her struggles with mental illness. In the book, Esther’s health improves after an inpatient hospital stay, although in reality, Plath died from suicide shortly after the novel was published.
In S1E17, Rory is trying to convince Lorelai that she doesn’t need to wallow over her breakup with Dean, but Lorelai doesn’t believe her. Rory explains that she really should be focusing on school and getting into Harvard, and Lorelai responds, “So… should we rent ‘Old Yeller’ too, or is that just a guys’ crying movie?”
“Old Yeller” is a 1957 Disney live-action film about a dog who is taken in by a family with two young boys. It is based on a 1956 novel with the same name. The dog, named Old Yeller, saves both boys’ lives several times, but one day he is bitten by a rabid wolf, and the older boy is forced to shoot his beloved dog.
In S1E16, Lorelai is pestering Rory for more details about her breakup with Dean. Lorelai says, “Honey, he did not plan an entire romantic evening, complete with dinner and a… junkyard, which we’ll get back to later, and then suddenly decide to dump you for no reason!” Rory asks, “How do you know?” Lorelai answers, “Because I’ve read every Nancy Drew mystery ever written! The one about the Amish country twice!”
Nancy Drew mysteries are a series of novels written by Caroline Keene, which is actually a pseudonym used by several authors. The series was published from 1930 until 2004. The main character, Nancy, is a high school student who solves mysteries with her friends, Bess and George.
“The one about the Amish country” is called “The Witch Tree Symbol,” in which Nancy and her friends travel to an Amish community in Pennsylvania to locate some stolen antiques. The thief paints Nancy as a witch, and she has to overcome the community’s suspicions to track down and return the stolen goods. Funnily enough, many people consider this novel to be one of the worst in the series.
S1E16 is called “Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers.”
“Star-Crossed Lovers” is a term coined by Shakespeare in his play “Romeo and Juliet.” It refers to a couple who is doomed to fail, like the lovers in the Stars Hollow founder’s myth, like Lorelai and Luke in this episode, and like Rory and Dean in this episode.
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
-Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet”